This paper aims to justify the concept of natural intelligence – the type of intelligence wider than human intelligence and its derivative, AI. I will argue that the process of life is (i) a cognitive process and (ii) that organisms, from bacteria to animals, are cognitive agents. To justify these arguments, the neural-type intelligence represented by the form of reasoning known as anthropic reasoning will be compared and contrasted with types of intelligence explicated by four disciplines of biology – relational biology, evolutionary epistemology, biosemiotics and the systems view of life – not biased towards neural intelligence. The comparison will be achieved by asking the following questions: 1. Are human observers the only observers within the pool of terrestrial life forms? 2. If not, (a) what’s the frequency of non-human observers within the pool of terrestrial life forms; and (b) if all life forms are observers, what’s the boundary between the observing and non-observing capacities? 3. Are there true observers within the pool of terrestrial life forms amongst the reference classes of observers that are not human? 4. Do human observers and other observers and true observers share common features? To answer these questions I will rely on a range of established concepts including SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence), Fermi’s paradox, bacterial cognition, versions of the panspermia theory, as well as some newly introduced concepts including biocivilisations, cognitive universes, and the cognitive multiverse. The key point emerging from the answers is that the process of cognition – the essence of natural intelligence – is a biologically universal.
Research Professor. Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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